Some things are not meant to change

When Rosebud was a baby, she swooned for biker dudes.  Sweet little old ladies would coo and smile at her trying to evoke a response. Often, they would walk away disappointed. But, if we even so much as walked by a biker dude, Rosebud’s face would light up like the man was Santa Claus himself. Long ponytails topped with bandanas elicited waves and smiles.  Handlebar mustaches earned applause.  The sweet soft voices of elderly women? Nada.

Small Rosebud

As I write this, I sit in the lobby of the Fine Arts building on a Minnesota campus while my oldest daughter sits in on a college class. I sit here in this gorgeous building wondering how I got here and where I go from here. Rosebud will be my daughter forever but will be my child, in the literal sense if the word, for not much longer. The path I have traveled over the last 17.5 years is lined with every piece of her. Leading her (and her brother and sister) down that path, holding her small hand in mine, guiding her, walking beside her, has been, and will no doubt remain, the greatest joy of my life.  

As she prepares to enter the next stage of her life, I, too, prepare to enter the next stage of mine. In three short years, I will be taking a similar road trip with her brother, and in three more, with my youngest child.  As I sit here now, in this gorgeous building, I look back. I look forward. 

And the view is breathtaking.

I am filled with the sadness of endings and the thrill of beginnings. I am mostly filled with gratitude that I have born witness to all of it. I watched those little chubby hands gripping her first paintbrush grow into the the elegant hands of a woman, often still holding a paintbrush. Some things are not meant to change.

We have been on this college road trip for several days now. There have been multiple occasions,  while walking from here to there, that I have stuck out my arm at intersections to block her from traffic. She informed me that she had been crossing streets quite successfully for some time now and my efforts to save her from walking into traffic were no longer necessary.

Maybe not for her.

I am quite certain that I will be sticking my traffic arm out in front of her when she is forty. Some things are not meant to change.

Iowa's Capitol Building

We stood in line to buy snacks at a truck stop behind an older man wearing a Harley shirt under a leather vest. He had long gray hair, a helmet tucked under his arm, and a handlebar mustache.

“I really like that biker dude,” she said with a smile.

Yes. Yes, I know.

Some things are not meant to change.





  1. Oh, this makes me cry. So poignant, so loving, so true. This – “I am filled with the sadness of endings and the thrill of beginnings. I am mostly filled with gratitude that I have born witness to all of it. ” – YES. Perfect, and how I feel too. xoxox

  2. This is beautiful. So glad we were able to meet up. You are both such good company.
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  3. As I read this, Ellie interrupted me to get her a glass from the cupboard.
    I welcomed the interruption because it meant I am still helping my kids, still very much needed, still in the thick of it.
    I feel this so much for you.
    And I will be in your shoes in four years.
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  4. Shannon, I both envy you and fear the journey you are on now. I’m definitely glad to get a peek and a glimpse into the future. Beautiful words about a beautiful process of letting go.
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  5. Too funny about the biker dudes! And sweet, too, that there are still some things you can count on.
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  6. Awww, Shannon, this post reads like the sunshine outside today–gentle, bright, and filling me with the warm fuzzies. I’ll have the traffic (and stoplight, in the car) arm forever, too! LOVE the biker dude bit. :)
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  7. You really gotta stop making me cry. Or buy me a happy lamp. Lovely story, lovely daughter, lovely mom. xoxo Mar P.S. You can keep me from walking into traffic anytime you want – I’m not very smart.
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  8. It’s so sweet (bittersweet?) to imagine this time as my kids are still so little. I loved your expression about being a “witness to it all.” That’s how it is, isn’t it? We are here to guide and watch for a pocket of time, and then they have to become their own people, like we are separate from our parents.

    I loved having this little flash of your trip. Can’t wait to keep hearing more.
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    • Bittersweet is definitely the right word, Nina. I would freeze time, but then I wouldn’t get to see what becomes of them or get to know them as the adults that they are becoming. Bittersweet, indeed.

  9. We will always throw our arm out to save someone in the passenger seat too even when no one is there. Saving our handbags instead. Love this post so much. Bittersweet. xo
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  10. This made me teary. It’s so beautifully-written. As Allison said – I love the glimpse into the future, even though it scares the bejeezus out of me.
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